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Jun 032014

I’m not a fan of word creation as a marketing campaign. Much like the plural possessive “ya’ll’s”. It’s not a real word, but it serves a distinct linguistical purpose — and “framily” as a concept is merit enough to tolerate the word.

We all have families of origin; most have or will have families of creation; then there are families of our choosing. Fund raising runs are chocked full of smiling, training groups glad for the camaraderie and challenge. Each of our karate tournaments benefits a mission or benevolence project and the smiles and hugs are enough to make an outsider think us deranged.

What makes these groups like family?

I contend that part of the cohesion is a common goal. Plato’s apex describes a pinnacle whereby the wide origins stretched across the base grow closer in proximity as they approach the peak.  The wide range of priorities narrow as the least important drop out and the most important remain.  Somewhere well above the base and likely a stones throw away from the top is where we find each other so snuggly packed together.

The true inner self is exposed and raw when we dig deeply enough to reach an extreme challenge. The vulnerability, individual striving and communal focus isn’t enough. A culture of encouragement, mutual respect and love can be the deciding factor between fostering destructive cut throat competition and a mutually beneficial “iron sharpening iron” situation.

Suffering often binds people together.

I’ve heard soldiers describe this bonding phenomenon when they have faced death on the battlefield. Even for those who never saw battle, the unfamiliar hardships of training were enough to form lifelong relationships with those they now call brothers.

I am blessed to have friends, mission team members and training partners I can call family. The battlefield is of our own choosing. We are well acquainted with the various obstacles between us and our common goal. We can warn each other of potential pit falls, pass along wisdom for conquering them, borrow courage when our own seems to fail, and celebrate each others’ victories. These are our “framily” members and our lives are richer for it.

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